Behind the Scenes: The Android Mobile Casino Experience

Behind the Scenes: The Android Mobile Casino Experience

Feb 19, 2018

The Prodigious Growth of the Mobile Market
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Global Mobile Users: Source – ComScore

It comes as no surprise that mobile Internet now outstrips desktop users by a long margin. This was boosted by low-cost Internet (Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G), cost reductions with Android smartphones and tablets, and a burgeoning middle class in China and India.
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Personal Use of Devices: 2017 – Source – OfCom

According to an OfCom communications report, users in the UK and the US spend 66 and 87 hours per month respectively browsing the web on their smartphones. The KPCB statistics for 2015 indicate that US mobile usage accounted for 51% of all time spent on digital media.
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Smartphone Market Share – Source: DAZEINFO

Smartphones dominate over tablets, laptops and desktops by a long margin. This was confirmed by OfCom research in 2017.

Android vs iOS – The Growing Divide

The leading mobile operating systems are Android and iOS. In terms of their worldwide market share, Android has led iOS (iPhone) since 2012. The stats reveal the following:

  • Q2 2012 – Android 69.3%; iOS 16.6%
  • Q2 2013 – Android 79.8%; iOS 12.9%
  • Q2 2014 – Android 84.8%; iOS 11.6%
  • Q2 2015 – Android 82.8%; iOS 13.9%
  • Q2 2016 – Android 86.2%; iOS 12.9%
  • The remaining percentages are filled by Blackberry and Windows Phone OS. There are also strong geographic trends. iOS dominates in Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, and France. Android is dominant in Mexico, South America, Russia, Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and Indonesia.

    Android devices are significantly cheaper than iPhones. According to Forbes Magazine, the typical price of an iPhone is around $687, while that of an Android smartphone is $254.

    The Challenges of Mobile for Web Developers

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    AMP HTML, JS, and Cache – Source: AMP

    Web developers face unique challenges when setting up a site that is mobile friendly. Today, websites have adopted a mobile-first policy when it comes to the user experience. Everything begins with smartphone functionality. Website developers that begin with a PC-based platform (desktop) typically encounter problems when they try to optimize for mobile afterwards. Desktop features may be visible to the end user, while they are invisible to the mobile user. The biggest challenge on mobile though is load time. Mobile is significantly slower than desktop and this is problematic.

    Maintain Traffic Flow

    If a website only functions optimally for PC-based users, it stands to lose considerable traffic among mobile users. Web developers must juggle multiple issues such as navigation, functionality, speed, and quality. Menus, clickable links, and design need to be optimized.

    Most of the plug-ins that are currently available are iOS optimized, and create challenges for the UX on Android. Online gaming platforms are dependent on the audio-visual prowess of their offerings to create a wow factor with players. If the games cannot be seen, or optimized on mobile, the online gaming platform loses out. This concept is known as maximizing on-screen real estate.

    Challenges for Online Casino Webs Developers

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    Web developers must create mobile friendly platforms for all devices. This includes pixel intensity, responsive design (creates increased liquidity for screen adjustments), greater interactivity with buttons, slide and swipe functionality, tilting, flipping and shaking options.

    Leading online casinos are making it easier for players to enjoy a rich mobile casino experience through a single web page for iOS and Android. The mobile game offering can be accessed from a hub page. This is an effective way to promote the mobile casino’s offerings. This presentation and design eliminates many of the challenges that web developers face with mobile users. The Android and iOS apps each have a unique interface. When mobile players click to play, they will automatically be presented with a full range of gaming options optimised for their device.

    Google’s Mobile First Indexing
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    In 2016, Google announced that its search index will rank sites with a mobile-first approach. The algorithmic code of Google’s crawlers understands structured data and ranks pages and sites via the mobile-first index. According to Google, the majority of people are using their smartphones and tablets to access websites nowadays. The lag effect of PC-based ranking remains, however the Smartphone Googlebot is now crawling across websites and ranking them accordingly. Luckily, webpages that have already implemented responsive design and feature dynamic serving are good to go. The mobile first index is here and it’s reshaping the way web developers are creating pages, apps and enhancing their SEO efforts.

    What Are Google AMP Pages and How Can They Help?

    Mobile websites take much longer than PC/desktop to load, and this has been one of the greatest challenges to mobile functionality. A viable solution to the load time challenges with mobile comes in the form of Google AMP pages. AMP stands for accelerated mobile pages, and it is an open source project aimed at enhancing the speed, delivery and quality of mobile functionality. This ensures higher levels of engagement, increased ROI, greater flexibility and quicker load times. Accelerated mobile pages make it much more enticing and engaging for players to go the mobile route.

    Google AMP allows websites to rank better on mobile, and this is good news for search engine optimization (SEO). Since most users abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, it’s important that sites are mobile friendly. Most mobile sites don’t load in 3 seconds; in fact, most take 10 seconds to load. And if you’re using 3G Internet, this can be as much as 19 seconds. Google AMP is 4 x faster than a standard HTML page and it’s designed for rapid loading. There are no known downsides. To get started, all that’s needed is an extension, plug-in or module on a content management system such as Joomla, WordPress, or Drupal. Then it’s off the virtual casino games – wherever you may find yourself.

    This article is sponsored as part of Steel Media Preferred Partners.

    Round and about the Steel Media world (Feb 16th)

    Round and about the Steel Media world (Feb 16th)

    Feb 16, 2018

    Another week, and slate of great news stories, reviews and features from the Steel Media empire. Because, well, you can never have too much content, and we’re here to help you catch stuff you might have missed.

    So, without too much ado, here is some cool stuff from around the Steel Media world:

    Pocket Gamer

    Pocket Gamer is chock-full of great stuff this week. Creature Quest feens will be happy with the staff generated tips and tricks guide, which should have you dominating in no time. Emily Sowden gets a hat tip for a quick list of the best iOS and Android updates for the week — including Death Road to Canada, The Battle of Polytopia and more. And, for those that have refined ear for interesting audio, the ubiquitous Pocket Gamer Podcast Episode 431 is up.

    148apps

    And yes, 148apps is still putting out the good stuff this week. There is Campbell Bird’s in-depth review of visual stunner Florence. Then, you can — you SHOULD — check out the updated list of the best games out for iPhone available now. And it’s never too late to get all booed up with the list of Valentine day apps. X’s and O’s…

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    AppSpy

    And still even more good stuff. Thanks to Christian Valentin, we know to look forward to upcoming iOS game sequel Alto’s Odyssey. Similarly, AppSpy has us impatiently waiting on cross-platform gravity defying caper Flo, due out on Android and iOS sometime in 2018.

    And there you have it. Great stuff. On tap. Enjoy.

    My App Addiction: Pocket Casts

    My App Addiction: Pocket Casts

    Feb 16, 2018

    I’ll shout it from the rooftops, all day long: I love podcasts. I really, really do.

    They are what FM radio was for me when I was a young buck, but better. There is just so much stuff to listen to out there. All you need is the patience to find interesting content, and the tools to listen to it.

    For the latter, I’ve come to depend on Pocket Casts.

    Pocket Casts is one of those OG Android apps… one that arguably allowed the OS to gain parity with the app haven that was iOS. As a dedicated podcast app, it did one thing, and did it well. Even now, it gets props for being as good a media manager as it is a player, with several features that make it almost indispensable.

    First, it has a bright interface, which allows it to be easy on the eyes. It also has a great discovery system, breaking podcasts into intuitive settings like Trending, Top, and also by subject matter; you can also do a raw search by name. Personally, I’m able to find audio blogs I probably wouldn’t have found otherwise.

    And then, when it comes to managing your discovered podcasts, it’s invaluable. You can manage the number of downloaded podcasts available — reducing bloat — and can auto-download and auto-queue broadcasts. The player itself is just as easy to use.

    Now, I am always a big fan of convergence. For example, I love Google Play Music, which allows me to stream music, play audio files already on my device AND listen to podcasts. Usually, it’s all about getting the fewest apps to do the most things reasonably well. It’s just that Pocket Casts does the podcast thing so well, it’s worth having the extra app around.

    [Our Pocket Casts Review]

    YouTube TV adds new networks

    YouTube TV adds new networks

    Feb 14, 2018

    Surely Google hopes the world is split into two closely related camps: folks who subscribe to its cord cutters beloved service YouTube TV, and those that are on the cusp of signing up for it.

    Here’s great news for the former, as well as maybe even more of a value-added invective for the latter.

    YouTube TV is adding more channels. Now, in addition to the existing lineup, you also get access to live TV content from TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, HLN, truTV, and TCM. That’s eight (8) new channels for your viewing pleasure.

    This adds to the existing lineup, which includes staples like ESPN, ESPN 2, FX, Disney Channel, SyFy, Bravo and a host more: a shade under 60 included channels, plus access to premium add-ons for extra.

    The service costs $35 per month; there is still a free trial for those looking to give it a no-risk look. Check out why we found YouTube TV more compelling over time, even more the addition of channels HERE.

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    Never-ending street racer Nitro Racing GO launches on Google Play

    Never-ending street racer Nitro Racing GO launches on Google Play

    Feb 14, 2018

    Time to celebrate: Nitro Racing GO: Idle Driving Clicker is live on Google Play, courtesy of T-Bull

    In this one, your street cred is built by passing other competitors during the race; when you pass another racer, you get goodies that can be used to improve your craft. The game boasts dozens of vehicle upgrade opportunities, card play leaderboards and plenty of interesting locales.

    What better way to flex you underground racing muscle? This is 100% safe, too. Add in unlockable vehicles and a free-to-play methodology, and it might be tough to put this one down.

    T-Bull Operations Chief and co-founder Grzegorz Zwolinski talks about the drive to create something that stands out. “Our goal was to do something different with the racing genre – something no one has tried before,” he says. “Nitro Racing GO combines genres to deliver a wholly original and innovative experience!”

    Can’t wait to see if this true.

    Nitro Racing GO is available for free (with optional in-app purchases). Check out the trailer below.

    In case you missed it — round and about the Steel Media world (Feb 9)

    In case you missed it — round and about the Steel Media world (Feb 9)

    Feb 9, 2018

    it’s a big, big world, and there so much going on. So much news, and so little time to enjoy all of it. For your mobile news and features, the Steel Media crew have you covered, and just in case you were not able to make all the rounds, we got you.

    Here are some of the interesting stories from our sister sites.

    Pocket Gamer rocks the week with reviews for Aegis Defender Switch and roguelike Dig Dog for starters; Folks looking to get some tips and tricks for Dragon Quest Builders, and even a timely walkthrough for Hearthstone. And, by the way, you also get latest episode of the coolest podcast in the land — Episode 430, which talks about Final Fantasy XV and Dandara.

    On 148Apps, we got our regular jewel, Harry Slater’s list of the best iOS games on sale now. There is also an enviable list of the best drag racing games on mobile, and a guide for Dice City Soccer.

    On AppSpy, you can catch its pick for hidden gem of the week, Euclidea, as well as Christian Valentin’s write-ups on True Legacy and cross-platform Forgive Me My Henchmen.

    There you have it… enjoy!

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    It’s still about the ecosystems, and Amazon is holding serve

    It’s still about the ecosystems, and Amazon is holding serve

    Feb 9, 2018

    Remember back when Amazon released the Fire Phone? That Android-flavored smartphone most pundits called a flop? Yes, don’t pretend. You dissed it too.

    What about the Amazon Appstore? It was appreciated, but with developers less likely to put their apps on it versus the Play Store, it was always gonna be a tough sell. Hey, at least the Fire Tablets have been doing well, right? Either way, for all its financial acumen, we couldn’t help but wonder if Amazon would really become that other ecosystem consumers deserved. I mean, Apple, Google, Samsung et al. weren’t taking naps at the time, either.

    Somehow, we practically missed her until she was right on top of us: Alexa.

    Hey, nothing has changed. It’s all about the ecosystems, and Amazon seems to be pace setter, especially from a mindshare perspective. In this race, mindshare is gold.

    With the connected smarthome being the new frontier, being in front early is important. When it comes to consumer adoption, it’s not always about who has the best product on the market, but rather who has the most recognizable one. When your grandma makes fun of friends who use Alexa, Amazon smiles because it knows it has a future customer.

    Don’t cry too hard for Apple. It has become great at sitting back and perfecting technology rather than necessarily introducing it.

    One thing’s for sure: consumer wins.

    Hopefully.

    Jam Ultra Wireless Earbuds Review

    Jam Ultra Wireless Earbuds Review

    Feb 8, 2018

    We’ve said it before: with the advent of Apple’s version (hey, we admit it), truly wireless headphones — you know, the ones that have each earbud wirelessly free of each other — are becoming more mainstream. They aren’t just hipster novelties anymore, in that they actually have real, measurable value for everyday users.

    Jam Audio has thrown a firm hat into the consumer ring with its Ultra Wireless Earbuds, a (relatively) decently priced wireless offering.

    The earbuds both fit in the palm easily, dark in appearance and each not too much bigger than an acorn. They each have replaceable tips, and allow the earbuds to sit in the ear, and form a seal on the outside. They fit well as stock.

    As with most truly wireless earbuds, the overall experience and aesthetic have a good deal to do with the design and utility of the charging solution. As noted, these ones utilize a portable charging case. At first glance (and compared to the charging cases of competing sets), they may come across as somewhat bulky, but they aren’t ugly, and can be pocketed without too mush unseemliness.

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    In practice, the Jam Ultras took a bit of while to reconnect to devices it had already been paired to the first time; after this, it was fairly spot on in this regard. When it was connected, the sound quality was sharp and uninterrupted when within ten feet of the audio source. Further out allowed for a bit of interference.

    They were great for podcasts, and was a great outlet for the jazz, country, pop, hip hop and R&B tracks that were piped through them. They also performed well during running and didn’t chafe the ears during extended use.

    ALl in all, a great set of earbuds for everyday use, and at $99 on the Jam Audio website, a good deal cheaper than other options out there.

    Who? What? Why? When? Where? Wednesday!

    You have questions. We don’t always have the answers.

    — So who is not interested in finding out more about the upcoming Samsung flagships? Courtesy of Android Central, we’re hearing Oreo, Snapdragon and 12 MP cameras. Yum.

    — Well, it’s about time MyScript Nebo was made available for Samsung Note8. What is it? Handwriting recognition for devices that utilize active pens. I’m thirsty.

    Who won the unofficial Super Bowl Ad championship? Alexa, who was mostly missing. On a serious note, what would we do without Alexa?

    Where can I find a non-disposable bluetooth tracker that down’t need to be charged twice a day? You know… something thin, portable and unobtrusive?

    Why do I feel quite comfortable with the, uh, ancient S7e I use as daily driver. Could it be it’s easier to keep devices for longer now because there is less innovation?

    Round and about the Steel Media world

    Round and about the Steel Media world

    Feb 2, 2018

    Yikes. it was 2017 not too long ago. Can it really already be February?

    Yes… another week, another slew of great content all around the Steel media landscape. It is pretty good stuff, even if we do say so ourselves.

    First up, let’s take a look at PG. Hey, whaddya know? The latest Pocket Gamer Podcast — Episode 429, no less — is live now. On tap this week: discussion about Mario Kart Tour and Hero Hunters. You can also find a comprehensive list of 67 games that are soft launched on Android and iOS, as well as some interest talk pertaining to LEGO games.

    I’m interested in a Westworld game for mobile, and you will be too.

    If you haven’t checked out 148Apps this week, shame on you! How else would you pick up on Harry Slater’s round up of the best iOS games currently on sale? There’s also some great gaming hints for the crazy popular Headshot ZD and reviews for Pako 2 and Disc Drivin’ 2.

    Now, you’ll definitely wanna swing by AppSpy, if only to check out Christian Valentin’s pick for hidden gem of the week (hint: it’s all about geometry). You can also read up on recent mobile entries Gunslugs 3 and Tesla vs Lovecraft.

    The real good news? This only scratches the surface. Head on out to Pocket Gamer, 148Apps and AppSpy to get all the content you could want, and then some.

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    Blast from the past: Broken Sword

    Blast from the past: Broken Sword

    Jan 30, 2018

    Long before Dan Brown got regular people talking about Knight Templars in their book clubs (and long, long before Tom Hanks had us doing the same in our living rooms), some of us already had an in on the shadowy world of religious conspiracies. It came in the form of the point and click adventure of the time, called Broken Sword.

    Look, this was a fantastic game. My first foray occurred, believe it or not, on Palm. Before then, it cut its teeth as a very popular PC game. Since then, it has spawned versions on other mobile platforms (like Android and iOS, of course), sequels, prequels and even the eponymous proof of standing: a Director’s Cut.

    Want more proof? it has been nominated for our very own Pocket Gamer awards in years past.

    From a personal standpoint, it is a bit of a family gaming heirloom. It was one of the first games we played as a family, and even now, it is the one application that makes it worthwhile to keep the old Palm T5 charged up. As part of our Google Play family library, it exists and every device, including, most recently, my Chromebook.

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    Then, as now, the game’s charm is based on its creativity. Right from the beginning, it draws you in, and doesn’t let go; because of its design, it felt tailor-made for mobile play. The artwork was zany then, and retains that quality even when seen through eyes spoiled on high fidelity graphics. But the coolest factor was that the game came together very well.

    All the accolades aside, Broken Sword represents a fun time in my life… back when everything was evergreen, and life was so full of hope. When I fire it up now, I get the same feelings.

    Life can be a game.

    [Our Broken Sword Review]

    In case you missed it: elsewhere on Steel Media

    The coolest thing about being part of a media network is that there is literally always something fresh… be it a different take, a new game or a platform-specific helper. Just in case you missed the goodness, here’s a quick rundown of some of the happenings on our sister sites.

    Pocket Gamer

    It’s always live at PG, and for folks that have a taste for sexy game talk, the latest Pocket Gamer Podcast — Episode 428 — is here. On the docket? Convo about The Room: Old Sins, Thumper and an interview Warhammer Quest II‘s developer.

    There’s more… a walkthrough for popular cross-platform game Super Senso, and Jon Mundy’s take on the best iOS and Android games of January 2018.

    148apps

    Where to begin… if you want some tips and tricks to get ahead in Meteorfall, or become the baddest crime fighter in Jydge, or simply want to set sail with the best info possible in World of Warship Blitz… rest assured, the crew at 148apps has you well covered.

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    AppSpy

    If you’re looking for news about the latest music game that’s dropped on mobile, AppSpy’s got you covered with it’s quick hitter on aforementioned new iOS app Thumper. You also want to drink in the feature read on the Hidden Gem of the Week, Ending, as well as furthering your ambition to become the best turn-based gunslinger by reading up on Christian Valentin’s hot take on Infinite West.